The Water Research Foundation (WRF) announced that a Request for Proposals (RFP) is available for a new research project funded under the Foundation’s Emerging Opportunities Program. This project will develop a practical framework for utilities that operate drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems to use as a tool to develop resilience plans for their infrastructure, to help meet America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) requirements, and to achieve the ultimate goal of increasing water infrastructure resilience.
In the water sector, resilience focuses on protecting human health, property, and the environment by minimizing drinking water and wastewater service outages, flood protection, and recovery of all systems as soon as possible following a disruption. As such, each utility’s risk-management priorities depend on many factors, including utility size, location, assets, and perhaps most importantly, the resources and capabilities a utility can access. According to a Water Research Foundation project, Resilient Water Infrastructure: Improving Understanding and Assessing Needs (4707), “there is no agreed definition of, or approach to, resilience across the sector” and “no consensus as to whether the development of a ‘standard’ definition would be helpful.” Long-term threats to water infrastructure including infrequent/uncertain hazards and extreme weather events, limited funding and flexibility, and deteriorating infrastructure complicate the water sector’s resilience planning efforts.
To accomplish the goals of this project, the researcher will review and synthesize recent related literature and deconstruct water utilities’ experiences of recent disaster events, e.g., earthquake, wild fire, flooding, etc., and provide insights and suggestions for a practical framework for water utilities, including drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities, to use in developing infrastructure resilience plans. Additionally, the research effort will include a workshop for utilities to share project findings and experiences, provide insights, and identify gaps on infrastructure resilience, in particular those related to the AWIA requirements, including challenges, advancements, and lessons learned.
WRF will form a Project Advisory Committee (PAC) composed of volunteer professionals with expertise in the research subject area to oversee the project funded through this solicitation. Proposals will be reviewed by WRF staff and the PAC against established evaluation criteria. WRF may request additional information from the researcher based on this review, and interviews may be conducted for the top three proposals.
Proposals should be submitted to EOpportunities@waterrf.org by 3 pm MT on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019.